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Sidwell Yarrow: New La Petite Ferme chef

New La Petite Ferme Chef, Sidwell Yarrow

La Petite Ferme is a Cape Winelands tourism institution. With accommodation, a restaurant and boutique winery it has been offering many a seasoned traveller the complete winelands experience. The secret behind La Petite Ferme’s many successful years is the ability to re-invent itself and keep delivering a relevant and high quality product to each visitor while still keeping its welcoming and heart-warming hospitality at the core.

Celebrating 15 years of physiotherapy in Franschhoek

The Claire Horn Physiotherapy team: Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot, Tracy Prowse and Alishia Jafthas.

Claire Horn and Associates Physiotherapy is celebrating fifteen years of “Physiotherapy in Franschhoek” this year. We are now 4 physiotherapists – Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot and Tracy Prowse – and have 3 treatment sites: Franschhoek, Pearl Valley and Bridge House School. Alishia Jafthas, well known to many of you, is our office manager and handles the phone, accounts and all of us!!

Klein Handjies Preschool on the up and up

Klein Handjies graduation 2016

“Change the first five years and you can change anything.”

History, says Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.

The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal.  It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.

Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with. She says there are six main reasons for this.

These are:

·         It is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children.

·         It has sufficient staff (seven in all) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.

·         It has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.

·         It is well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.

·         It feeds its children throughout the day with breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and afternoon snacks.  What is more, the food is healthy and nutritious, most of it emanating from Boschendal’s farms and much of it also prepared in Boschendal’s Werf Restaurant.

·         Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose Programme.  The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives. The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field. He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education. Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play With A Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage.  If, therefore, children are exposed to interesting, stimulating activities at this stage their chances of coping with later educational demands, even under very difficult conditions such as overcrowding, will be much improved.

“Play With A Purpose programmes were introduced to Gauteng some 25 years ago by Robin Wieland, who still heads up the Preschool for Africa programme, but Klein Handjies is the first school in the Western Cape to buy into their educative methods.  This exciting change has come about because Preschool for Africa is represented in the Western Cape by Colleen Harvett, a very experienced nursery school owner and principal who, when not running her own school, devotes most of her spare time to promoting Play With A Purpose programmes in the Western Cape – and it was she who talked to Boschendal CEO Rob Lundie, who, she says, very quickly grasped the value and the concepts of Play With A Purpose.

“What makes the Play With A Purpose programme so revolutionary,” says Harvett, “is that previously too little thought was given in farm schools of this kind to stimulating and developing the minds of our youngest children.  If the preschool was comfortable and the children were looked after and kept amused that was often thought sufficient.  It is only quite recently that it has been understood that these initial years of a child’s life are crucial to its later ability to learn and adapt.”

In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.

“This means,” says Harvett, “that it will in time be able to take on pupils up to Grades 1 and 2 – and later possibly they will be able to go even further.  It is likely that this school will set new standards for farm education in the Boland and will find many imitators.”

www.boschendal.com | 021 870 4200 (Rob Lundie)

Explore Boschendal – with Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth

Explore Boschendal by carriage with Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria

Boschendal offers all that you’d expect of a wine estate – restaurants, wine tasting, picnics – and then some!  Also on offer are half and whole day spa treatments, walking and mountain bike excursions (on 30 km of new trails), fly fishing – and horse riding.  It can be stated quite categorically here that if ever there was an enthusiastic team it is that which now runs the equestrian activities.

The equestrian team is headed by Hans Mbalula and his brother Petrus.  Hans was formerly a barman at Boschendal’s deli/Werf restaurant/picnics), but on hearing Boschendal’s CEO discussing the pros and cons of riding and related activities on the estate he immediately volunteered to give up bartending and to run this new initiative.

It transpired that he had, in fact, been raised on a Free State farm and as a boy had ridden regularly before and after school to carry out a variety of farm duties such as cattle and sheep herding.  He had, too, it was discovered, learned early on how to win the confidence and calm down a wild horse so that within a few days (often in fact within one day) he could saddle and ride it without any of the bronco busting histrionics of the Wild West’s cowboys.  He had also learned how to put horses into harness to pull a cart or a plough, again using a minimum of force and a maximum of coaxing.

Boschendal now has 13 horses, including a few Shetland ponies, the majority of which are massive Shire horses, Friesians, Clydesdales and Percherons, all of them giants of the horsey world – they grow to 16 hands or more.  Being immensely strong, they are capable of carrying a 100 kg or 110 kg rider in armchair comfort.  Surprisingly, however, they are also quite exceptionally gentle so that, despite their size, they can be and sometimes are ridden by quite small children.  A few lucky riders are offered the opportunity to mount these massive horses, but most of Boschendal’s outrides are done with well-trained smaller horses.

Today the Boschendal horses can be hired for outrides and these usually take the visitor into unspoilt conservation fynbos territory where waterbuck and eland have been introduced by Boschendal’s owners.  For those prepared to rise early Boschendal offers a breakfast ride in its extensive conservation territory with delicious eggs, bacon and mushrooms cooked over an open fire.  The rides can last up to three hours and afford the visitor a total escape from the overcrowded mechanised world.

Shire horses are, however, at their most impressive when they are acting as draught animals.  Their huge size make it possible for them easily to pull carts, the weight of which would bring lesser horses, even fully trained hackneys, to their knees.

At Boschendal the management now offers visitors one-hour cart rides almost daily. The carriage can take a small number of adults and a larger number of children.  Passengers sit on a beautifully restored 19th-century landau and this gives them a tranquil lovely way to see the estate and to watch these big horses working so willingly.  The foremost carriage pair are black Friesian mares.  They are sisters and are named Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.  Their names are appropriate because they exude a patrician, almost regal ambience, as if aware that they are several cuts above today’s typical livery stable animals.

Booking is essential for a carriage ride, but, as Samantha Lundie, wife of the CEO of Boschendal who is closely involved with this operation, has said, “An overnight visit to Boschendal these days is incomplete without a carriage ride – it somehow epitomises all that the estate stands for.”

horses@boschendal.co.za | 021 870 4211

New Head Chef at Lust Bistro & Bakery

Award-winning restaurant, LUST Bistro & Bakery, has announced the appointment of Johan van Schalkwyk as new Head Chef. Upholding a high cooking standard, the new chef’s aim is to focus on fresh and organic produce.

Rickety Bridge’s Foundation Stone Range

This experimental craft range, which winemaker Wynand Grobler particularly enjoys making, is adorned with a creative, eye-catching label reflecting Wynand’s innovative approach to the three wines. The blends are constantly evolving, being tweaked by Wynand every year. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the intricate label, designed by the talented Fanakalo team, may make you wonder at what’s within. Chances are that you’ll like what you find!

Boschendal white wine best in SA

Boschendal’s Appellation Series – Elgin 2015 Chardonnay has been awarded the Best Elgin Chardonnay Trophy, Best Chardonnay Trophy and ultimately the Best White Wine of South Africa Trophy at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC).  Additionally, Boschendal was awarded Gold for its Elgin Pinot Noir 2015 at the IWC and to add to these impressive awards – it was also announced that Boschendal has garnered Gold at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) for its Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2015.

2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards winners

Alisha Erasmus, Lee-Ann Fouche-Wessels, Nick Oosthuizen and Chris Erasmus of Foliage at the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

South Africa’s best culinary talents were honoured at the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on Sunday, 20 November. Franschhoek restaurants didn’t win any of the big prizes, but were well represented with three claiming places among the top 10.  They are: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (4th), The Kitchen at Maison (8th) and Foliage (9th).

For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year, The Test Kitchen was named Restaurant of the Year.

Gregory Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof won the coveted title of Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year.

La Colombe was recognised for maintaining the highest level of service with the Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award and the first-ever Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service, which was awarded to front-of-house manager Jennifer Hugé.

The much-admired chef, restauranteur and author Peter Veldsman was the winner of the Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star Award went to Angelo Scirocco of Urbanologi in Johannesburg for his promising talent, and the Eat Out Wine Service Award for a top sommelier was won by Tinashe Nyamudoka of The Test Kitchen.

In another industry first, The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch was the recipient of the inaugural Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award, which recognises a restaurant that is making strides towards sustainability by implementing environmentally and socially responsible practices and being cognisant of the importance of higher animal welfare.

Foxcroft, the new restaurant opened by chefs Scot Kirton and Glen Williams of La Colombe, was named the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year. Marble in Rosebank, Johannesburg, received the Eat Out Boschendal Style Award for its show-stopping interior design and décor. The winner of the Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary was Ayanda Matomela, who was selected for his passion and enthusiasm.

www.eatout.co.za

Where the big dogs are

The interior of the Big Dog Cafe shows off industrial materials.

As I walk through the glass doors of the café on a wintry July morning, droplets pattering on the paved walkway, I feel as though I have strolled into something very, very special.  On entering I am greeted by the dark, alluring scent of freshly ground coffee beans, with wisps of vanilla silking through the air.  At the counter to my left a barista is bustling, working magic.  Water droplets condense on a carafe with lemon water.  The smell of something decadent from the kitchen.  In the garden a willow tree blows listlessly in the wind.  But inside, it is warm, welcoming and friendly. Michael, the owner, is even more so.

Worldwine Women Explore Franschhoek Wine Valley

The Worldwine Women during their February visit to the valley.

During February Franschhoek Wine Valley hosted four dynamic young women, who aptly referred to themselves as the Worldwine Women. This group of student friends– Alice, Louise, Alexandra and Atalante – have made it their mission to explore vineyards across the globe with the goal of analysing the emerging balance between tradition and innovation. In order to do so they work in vineyards in each of the countries that they visit so as to personally experience different production methods, traditional local skills as well as cultural environments.

Eager to experience what the valley has to offer in terms of wine production the group spent time with the women winemakers of Haut Espoir, La Bri, GlenWood Vineyards, My Wyn, Holden Manz and Anthonij Rupert Wyne.

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